Daniel Handler, best known for A Series of Unfortunate Events and his accordion work with Stephin Merritt and The Magnetic Fields, reads a chapter from his novel Adverbs, which made Dave Eggers describe Handler as "something like an American Nabakov". An excerpt from another chapter, Immediately, is available courtesy of the New York Times. Handler's first adult novel, the nightmarishly satirical The Basic Eight (think the movie Heathers with a less reliable a narrator), is also well worth a read (excerpt from Google Books).
"...for the next tour, I’ll either be calm and collected or nervous with a dangerously out-of-control boner."
In 1977-1978, a public access TV show called Public Access Poetry featured leading poets from across the country (Ted Berrigan, Ron Padgett, Eileen Myles, John Yau, Brad Gooch, just to name a few). [more inside]
Poetry at Tech, a poetry program at Tech University in Georgia, presents readings (on YT) by a number of fine contemporary poets. Some of my favourites: Thomas Lux (pt. 1, 2, 3), David Kirby (pt. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), Tony Hoagland (pt. 1, 2, 3) and Illya Kaminsky. Complete list of videos so far.
Everything you ever wanted to read about left-wing political theory but were afraid to look up. [more inside]
Neil Gaiman's latest work, The Graveyard Book, is a kind of undead Jungle Book, with a man-child being raised by various ghosts and ghouls rather than animals. He's been the whole thing a chapter at a time on each stop of his American promotional tour, and posting the videos online (and blogging about it of course), which means that with tonights reading the entire thing will be available online.
22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole.
Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities is so called because it asserts that what makes up a city is not so much its physical structure but the impression it imparts upon its visitors, the way its inhabitants move within, something unseen that hums between the cracks. This, however, has in no way dissuaded people from attempting to give form to his works. One such example is the Hotel Tressants, a building in Menorca, Spain containing 8 rooms named after and inspired by various cities from the novel. Meanwhile, artists offer illustrations1,2,3, installations 1,2,3,4,5, music1,2,3,4,5,6 and dance, hypertexts1,2, computer programs and animations, even View-Master slides, while intellectuals offer readings and commentary1,2, lectures1,2, and critical texts1,2,3 sparked by the man and his writings. It has been dubbed "The Calvino Effect". Do you know of any more?
Required Reading from the President's Council on Bioethics. Each of the readings that follow - which include poetry, short stories and more - is accompanied by a brief introduction and questions about the bioethical implications of the work. The new booklist includes James Watson, Tolstoy, Shakespeare and Ovid. Via the WSJ.
J.T. LeRoy: The Next Lit-Crit It Boy? A report from the trendy and bespectacled world of hipster-lit book-readings and its newest star, the mercurial J.T. LeRoy. From the article: "LeRoy is the mirror image of the New York hipster’s aspiration: the lost soul done good, when so many in the audience, in pricey vintage t-shirts, seemed to want nothing more than to shed the trappings of middle-class life. More than a few in the audience spoke of him with a sort of rapt awe usually accorded NBA stars and minor deities." For more info on LeRoy, check out the author's official website.